Rolex 24 at Daytona

moose135moose135 Registered Users Posts: 1,413 Major grins
edited May 1, 2016 in Sports
While my motorsports tastes lean more towards NASCAR, I've always enjoyed sports car racing, and have wanted to get down to Daytona for the Rolex 24 for years, and finally got there this year. All together, it's a 4-day event, Thursday through Sunday. I got down there Thursday evening, in the rain, spent most of Friday at the track watching practice and a couple of support races, then got back early Saturday morning and went straight through to the end of the 24-hour Sunday afternoon - and yes, I got the whole experience, I stayed awake for the whole thing, about 36 hours straight without sleep... :huh

1 - In the Ferrari Challenge race on Friday, one of the cars had a problem going into the International Horseshoe, locked up and slid straight into the tire barrier. The driver walked away unharmed, and was able to make repairs and run the car in Saturday's Challenge race.


2 - Friday afternoon they ran the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race, a 2 1/2 hour race with several classes of cars running. This Mini Cooper got together with another car, causing the rear hatch to pop...this was the high-downforce version of the Mini. :giggle


3 - And a Teddy Bear will lead them! :D


4 - Some agricultural racing


5 - Before the Rolex on Saturday, the brought out about a dozen historic race cars for several laps. This is a 1967 Ford Lotus Cortina.


6 - On to the main event - Porsche teammates in the GTLM class run through the International Horseshoe.


7 - The Patron sponsored Ligier, the eventual race winner, runs on the high banks with the Ford EcoBoost Riley.


8 - It is a 24 hour race, so that means racing at night!


9 - He had just made a pit stop/driver change, and had some problems getting the door closed.


10 - On the high banks at night.


11 - One of the neat things about these races is the opportunity to get into the garage area during the event. A friendly security guy let me sneak down the alley from the garage to the pits for a few cool shots.


12 - One of the Ferrari GTLM cars leaves his pit after service.


13 - Around 10pm, they had a short fireworks display.


14 - It's not a good sign when the car is in the garage during the race...


15 - The day after the night before.


16 - Patron Ligier leads a pack into the International Horseshoe.


All in all, it was quite an experience - I'm sure I'll get back down for this again. I didn't camp in the infield, although I met up with a friend who did, but with a general admission ticket, you can wander the entire infield and grandstand, and a garage pass isn't much more. It's an interesting and diverse crowd, most everyone is friendly and just having a good time. One thing I learned - while there are several grandstands along the infield section of the course, many people brought short step ladders to be able to shoot over the fence, and I'll have to make sure I have one for next time. Actually, one neat thing - many people locked their ladders to the fence in a good spot, and when they weren't using them, others (me included!) climbed up and shot for bit.

For the boring, technical details...I was shooting with a Canon 5D3, actually two of them, and most of the on-track shots were taken with the Canon 100-400L (original recipe) and a Canon 1.4 extender. The night shots were shot at (and above) ISO 6400, and benefited from some Topaz noise reduction in post.

Thanks for looking! I have (many) more photos here:


  • moose135moose135 Registered Users Posts: 1,413 Major grins
    edited February 9, 2016
    One last thing - one of the things I've always loved about Daytona Beach was that you could drive on the beach...actually, I think it's the law that you have to when you visit, so I made sure I did!

  • Gary752Gary752 Registered Users Posts: 934 Major grins
    edited February 10, 2016
    Awesome job! clap.gifbowdown.gifclap This is one of the reasons I miss living in Florida. Back in the 80's, I had a friend that was the track maintenance supervisor for the 12 Hours of Sebring, The Miami Grand Prix, and the Miami Indy race, and he would always get me free tickets with pit access. Back then I shot with a Pentax ME Super, but found out a couple days before one of the Miami Grand Prix races that Canon was setting up a tower that had a few of their newer lenses available to those with a Canon camera. I ended up borrowing a canon camera from a friend for the race and ended up getting some awesome shots of the Lowenbrau car and a few others that I shot on slide film. I wish I still had those slides, because with the scanning technology we have today, they would have made some awesome prints! Out of those 3 races, the 12 Hours of Sebring has to be my favorite due to how close you could actually get to the track. When I finally get to retire, I am planning on going to those 3 races again and maybe add in the 24 Hours of Daytona, just so I can say I attended all of the Florida races. Until then, keep posting your awesome photos!!!

    “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!” - Ansel Adams
  • CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 3,028 Major grins
    edited February 11, 2016
    My favorites are #8 and 9. I love the panning shots - nice action and lighting. I am so jealous - would love to experience the 24 hour in person - and from the pits! And only 10 more days until the 500!
  • black mambablack mamba Registered Users Posts: 8,318 Major grins
    edited February 11, 2016
    Nice series, John. I wish we could have hooked up as you passed through Jacksonville but, as you know, I got sidetracked.

    That whole multi-day event that constitutes the Rolex 24 Hour extravaganza is something every car guy should experience at least once. I'm glad you finally made it....sounds like you did it right.

    I've been invited down for a private tour of the new " Daytona Rising " revamp of the place. I'm looking forward to that. I understand they spent in excess of $400 million on the project.

    Sadly, the riding on the beach at Daytona has been severely restricted compared to days gone by. We used to could ride that beach for over 30 miles in an uninterrupted stretch. The longest beach ride available now is in the St. Augustine area.

    Glad you got home safe.

    I always wanted to lie naked on a bearskin rug in front of a fireplace. Cracker Barrel didn't take kindly to it.
  • wtlwdwgnwtlwdwgn Registered Users Posts: 356 Major grins
    edited February 19, 2016
    Wow, that's a terrific series from the 24. Great night shots. thumb.gif
  • JBHotShotsJBHotShots Registered Users Posts: 391 Major grins
    edited March 10, 2016
    Great stuff!

    Was any of this credentialed or just you buying passes?
    7DII w/Grip, 50D w/Grip, 24-70/2.8L, 70-200/2.8L, 85/1.8, 50/1.8, Rokinon 8mm FE 3.2, 580EXII 430EX
  • moose135moose135 Registered Users Posts: 1,413 Major grins
    edited May 1, 2016
    Holy cow, has it been this long since I've poked around DGrin? Sorry about that, folks, life has been "interesting" of late, and the Rolex weekend turned out to be more costly than I imagined it would. I've still been shooting, I'll have to post some more stuff. Thank you for all the kind words, it was quite an experience to spend the weekend a the races. Sorry we couldn't get together, Tom, but I'm sure we will one of these days.

    Jamie, all I had was a general admission/infield ticket and a pit pass, which are available to anyone.
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